July 27, 2012

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

The Gods of the Copybook Heading

Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations
  in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations
    to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers
  I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings,
    I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us.
  They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us,
  as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift,
  Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas
  while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed.
  They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne
  like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress,
  and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield,
  or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on
  they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton;
  they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses;
  they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshiped the Gods of the Market
  Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming,
  They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons,
  that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us
  and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
  ”Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones
  we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour
  and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children
  and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
  ”The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch
  we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter
  to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money,
  there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said:
  ”If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled,
  and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled
  and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters,
  and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
  limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future,
  it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain
  since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit
  and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger
  goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished,
  and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing
  and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us,
  as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
  with terror and slaughter return!

Happy Friday from the Piano Guys

I love these guys; they’re so creative!

July 19, 2012

“Words mean things”

When Rush Limbaugh began his radio career he regularly said, “words mean things.” That seems kind of obvious, but a lot of times people overlook or simply miss the meanings of the words people say.

Without providing any commentary, this cartoon accurately quotes two presidents. What do these quotes say about each of these men? And what do each of these say about the state of our nation under those men’s leadership?

Please be prepared to vote for a stronger America this November.

July 18, 2012

July 17, 2012

Time to lose weight


went to the doctor yesterday and heard the typical doctor speech for a 50-year-old: “You need to lose weight!” Well... perhaps it wasn’t completely typical because I need to lose a lot more weight than most men... of any age.

I have struggled with my weight all my life and over the years my excessive weight has contributed to a variety of health problems. But now I’m 50 years old and need to get control of this before it takes complete control of me.

Everyone says accountability is vital for weight maintenance, so I have put in place a few things to help with that. I began by downloading the FitnessPal app for my iPhone (also available for Android, Blackberry, iPad, and Windows phones). It’s a pretty cool app that had tens of thousands of 5-star ratings—and it’s free. FitnessPal also has a web site, so I can now track my caloric intake and my caloric output online and through my mobile phone. And FitnessPal has a huge database of foods to make tracking your caloric intake easier. You can even put in your own recipes and then add them to the database if you’d like to do so or keep them private if you prefer.

It can also be tied into a really cool digital pedometer called the FitBit. This tiny pedometer tracks how many steps you’ve taken, how many stairs you’ve climbed or descended, how many miles you’ve walked or run, how many calories you’ve burned, how many calories you burn while sitting or sleeping, and even how many times you get up at night and the exact times when you did it. All of this transmits the FitnessPal web site and mobile app via either wifi or a docking station that comes with the FitBit pedometer.

All of that is awesome, but still does not provide accountability. The accountability comes in with the Reports feature at FitnessPal. All of this tracked information is put into a printable report, which can also be emailed (perhaps to your family doctor), and it generates the cool little widget you see on the left side of this blog post. This widget is going to remain in my bar to the right, close to the top of the page, so my blog readers will be able to keep track of my weight. There’s the accountability.

I have a lot of weight to lose. I’d better get up and walk around. Sitting at this laptop isn’t helping at all.

July 08, 2012

Got beef?

Our family loves good steak, so we grill out often—at least once a week during the spring, summer, and fall. But when the temperature rises above 100° Farenheit we have to figure out other options. Today was one of those days.

Our initial plan was to pull out my wok and cook some Chinese stir-fry. But when we went to the grocery store yesterday to get the ingredients, I was swayed by a book we found at the store, The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A treasury of timeless, delicious recipes [Amazon.com]. I began flipping through the pages of this unique cookbook and soon decided to buy it. The recipes look fantastic.

About 20 years ago, Kim and I purchased two cast iron skillets from Cracker Barrel—one with very low sides and the other about 3.5" deep. Our two skillets closely resemble the ones pictured at the top of this post and are, in fact, made by Lodge Cast Iron. We have used the low-sided skillet regularly since we purchased it, but have not used the deeper skillet very often. It’s large and it’s heavy and it just hasn’t been one of our regular pieces of cookware... until now.

I love cooking with cast iron cookware and have used the skillet for burgers, hash-brown potatoes, fried tomatoes, sausage, and many other foods that benefit from the even temperature across the cooking surface and from the ability of cast iron to retain heat. And I used the low-sided skillet because at 14" in width, the low sides of the skillet reduce the weight by quite a bit. The 14" high-sided skillet is incredibly heavy.

So... we chose a recipe, collected the short list of ingredients and after church today I made the best steak I have ever had. The recipe is in the box below. If you have a cast iron skillet (like the one with the high sides pictured at the top-right of this post). You need to try this recipe. It is truly amazing and will leave your taste buds in an elevated state of nirvana.

Seared Pepper Steak with Bourbon-Shallot Sauce

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup cracked black peppercorns
  • 4 10-oz. beef top loin steaks, about 1" thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 3 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1/2-cup bourbon
  • 1/2-cup beef stock
  • 1/4-cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. Rub the salt and cracked peppercorns on both sides of the steaks.
  2. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the steaks 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare or to desired degree of doneness. Transfer the steaks to a plate and loosely cover with foil.
  3. Add the shallots to the skillet and sauté 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and turn off the burner. Add the bourbon (there will be a lot of steam all at once). Carefully light the liquid in the skillet with a long match. Allow the flames to burn off on their own.
  5. Return the skillet to the heat. Add the stock, bring it to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer 3 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until totally incorporated into the sauce. Stir in the parsley. Taste and add additional salt to taste, if desired.
  7. Place a steak on each of 4 plates, top with the sauce, and serve.

Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, Oxmoor House, p. 126

July 07, 2012

Steve Vai - Gravity Storm


o one can make a guitar scream, wail, and sing like Steve Vai. Today it’s intensely hot outside (currently 101°F, but the forecast is calling for 106° before the afternoon ends) and hot weather calls for hot music. So here’s Steve Vai’s “Gravity Storm” from his upcoming album “The Story of Light.”

I love this guy’s music!

July 06, 2012

“His spirit has gone but his stench remains”

From time to time you read something that you simply must share. This would be one of those times:

2 Maccabees 9:9–10

“...and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to the army. And the man that thought a little time before he could reach the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench.”

You gotta love it.

The US Military presents our National Anthem

Let’s wrap the week up with a performance by those who keep us free. A huge thank you to all our military! God bless America!

July 05, 2012

Carrie Underwood

I love Carrie’s voice—and her passion. Here she is with our National Anthem:

July 04, 2012

Happy birthday, America!

We saw Bill Press on the news disparaging the National Anthem. He called it “an abomination.” Then an unknown comedian named Daniel Tosh responded by saying, “no one has The Star Spangled Banner on their iPod.”

Apparently these guys (Madison Rising) heard those comments too. I don’t have an iPod, but now The Star Spangled Banner is on my Zune. This is great!

Happy Independence Day!

Download your copy here: Madison Rising

July 03, 2012

Faith Hill

Only one day left to go. Faith Hill is going to sing for us today:

July 02, 2012

The Cactus Cuties again - my new favorite band

The Cactus Cuties

This group of young ladies were asked to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a basketball game when the oldest was 10 years old and the youngest was only four. Their family posted a video of that performance to YouTube and they became a singing sensation. Now they perform at many sporting events. They are absolutely phenomenal.

The Cactus Cuties from Lubbock, Texas

And here’s one from quite a few years earlier:

ADDENDUM: I received a comment from someone who seems to know. So I need to make a correction. During their first performance, they ranged in age from 13 years old to 8 years old. Thank you to the person who informed me of that. Although, it doesn’t change a thing. These girls are amazing!

July 01, 2012

Martina McBride – God Bless America

Today is the Lord’s day. And it is the first day of the USA’s birthday week. America’s 236th birthday. Happy birthday to my nation. And may God bless America!